6
Apr

4 Essential Content Marketing Components Made Simple

With all the analytics tools that are available nowadays, you can slice and dice all the data and metrics to death and still feel confounded when it comes time to write content that’d truly resonate with your ideal audience.

As a solo practitioner or small business owner, you’re not leveraging your advantage if you fight the “big guys” on the turf where they have a team of analysts pouring over metrics and data and a content factory pumping out stuff every single day.

Your asset is YOU – with a unique combination of personality, convictions and points-of-view applied through the lens of knowledge in your area of expertise to create a resonance more than the “thing” you deliver and a transformation in your clients at a deeper level.

Your empathy is your secret weapon.

It gives you the humanity to generate insights that no research and data can provide.

To bring the magic back into content creation, I’ll show you how to layer your personality and the gift of empathy over some essential components of content marketing best practices to make writing for your business meaningful again:

1. Customer Journey

The less fancy way to say this is, what are the steps people go through before they become your clients?

Don’t make it about squeezing your potential clients through a “funnel” with 37 permutations that make everybody’s head spin… just so you can look “smart.”

A real-life customer journey is not linear or clinical. There’re a lot of emotions involved, and it’s not always rational.

As the word “journey” implies, it has the potential to be a story of transformation. It’s way more than a step-by-step instructional manual.

Aim your content above and beyond the same old “provide valuable and relevant information” to address these questions:

What’s your ideal clients’ story?

What’s their hero’s journey?

What are they thinking, feeling and doing at each stage? What do they need to know – about you, the subject matter and themselves – in order to proceed to the “next level” and get closer to engaging with your services?

Who do you want to be for them at each step of the way? Which aspects of your personality and convictions would they most resonate with at each stage?

2. Buyer Persona

If you’ve taken any marketing program or training, you probably have a few dry as cardboard “ideal client profiles” collecting dust somewhere on your hard drive.

Just filling out a series of questions and creating an avatar can only take you so far. When you pull out one of those profiles and read it, does it feel like a real person to you? Or does it sound like a poorly written TV character that’s so two-dimensional that you don’t really believe she exists in real life?

Work needs to be done to connect the dots and make this persona meaningful to you:

Your buyer persona shouldn’t be frozen in time… the way she reacts to your communications changes as she goes through the customer journey (and hopefully your content is already creating transformation in her life along the way.)

After you’ve identified this persona, go back to your customer journey and imagine how she’d react and what she’d need to know in order to deepen her connection with you.

This is an organic process.

This persona evolves as she goes through the customer journey (which could also be her hero’s journey) – each piece of content that addresses a particular stage should speak to the psychology of that persona at that point in time, and take her to the next step.

When I write copy for my clients, I like to pretend I’m their potential clients and we role-play a dialogue to uncover the kind of content we need for a piece of copy to be effective.

Most training teaches us to give that persona a name… Aggressive Abe, Boring Boris, Catty Cathy.

Recently I read an article (unfortunately I wasn’t able to locate it for this post) that questioned such practice.

The gist is, when we name an avatar, it introduces cultural and societal preconceptions. (This, in and of itself, is a very interesting topic to unpack.)

IMHO, the best content appeals to a larger context – certain universal inkling, beliefs and identities that transcend simply finding the pain and twisting the knife.

When you “see” this persona in your mind’s eye, try to connect with her at a level that transcends the “here and now” – the limitation of an individual experience – to encompass that something bigger. You’d take her from a “problem solving” mindset to an “aspirational” mindset.

3. Keyword Research

Keyword is not the only thing that drives SEO.

Instead of seeing keywords as a means to ranking high on Google, use them as a tool to peek into your ideal audience’s world so you can show up in front of them, grab their attention and take them on that journey you have crafted for them.

Keywords are the window to how your ideal readers describe their world. Reflect it back to them, and you build resonance.

Keywords can help you understand your ideal audience and inform your initial content direction so you can catch them and draw them in – your content is worth zero if nobody is reading it.

A good understanding of keywords adds layers to your customer journey. By understanding how your people talk about what they want and what they need to solve at each stage, you can add more depth to the persona and weave a story around their experience to create a deeper connection.

Pay attention to the nuances – why do they use a particular word? What does it mean to phrase their problems in a certain way… does it emphasize some specific beliefs or preferences?

If you can make keyword research more than a mechanical execution, you may be surprised by the insights you can gain about your audience.

4. Content Calendar, Or Not

I haven’t been able to successfully stick to a content calendar. I tried it. And two weeks down the road it got tossed out the window because it felt too rigid for the way I get inspired and create.

Yet we do want to make sure your content marketing effort is serving your business and helping you achieve your goals.

Is there a happy medium?

When you design a marketing campaign or plan out a series of marketing activities, you can map out a content creation plan to support your goal.

Who’s your primary audience for that campaign and where are they in the customer journey? E.g. for a list building campaign, you’re probably speaking to people at the early stage of their journey. On the contrary, if you’re selling an advanced training, you’d likely to be targeting someone further down that path.

Then think about your persona and how she’d act, think and feel at that stage. What would make her click through to read your content (= mapping the keyword)? What does she need to know to take action? (= reflecting the insights you get when you answer the questions in #1 above.)

Your content will be that much more effective if you map it to the goal of each marketing campaign, the stage of customer journey it’s addressing and the psychology of the readers at that particular stage of transformation.

6
Apr

How to Improve Your Networking Skills

When we think about surrounding ourselves with the right people, we often think in terms of what those people can do for us. The real question you should be asking is, “What value can I bring to people?”

People do business with people, not businesses. Most people at networking events go right out, shake hands, ask what the other person’s name and business are and hand off a card. Sound familiar? If so, smack your business-card-passing hand on the wrist!

That, my friends, is not how connections are made. Aim for the “second handshake” with your networking conversations.

Picture this scenario: You walk into a networking event, and as usual, people are looking at you like you’re their next meal. Someone immediately approaches you, reaches out to shake your hand and says (in one breath), “Hi, my name is Brady, I’m the owner of Awesome Business, I do X, Y and Z. What’s your name and what do you do?” You spurt your scripted answer back, exchange cards and walk away. There’s no connection; there’s no second handshake.

Now, try this scenario: You walk into a networking event, go up to someone who looks interesting, shake hands and introduce yourselves by name. You say, “Phil, I’m curious — how did you get into doing what you do?” And a conversation ensues. After about five minutes, you’ve learned that you both left corporate jobs to go it on your own. You have something in common. The foundation of a relationship is laid. And you both genuinely enjoyed the conversation to the point that when you start to walk away, he extends his hand and gives you a second handshake. Success!

If you approach networking and relationship building in this manner, you’re bound to get a second handshake.

It’s these conversations — these second handshakes — that are the foundation of mutually beneficial relationships. The relationships that allow you to surround yourself with the right people. The relationships that lead to business success.

Questions to get a conversation started

Need some help getting that conversation going? Here are some questions you can ask that will likely throw someone a little off their pre-scripted networking pitch game. By doing that, you’re likely to have a better conversation, find a connection and get that second handshake.

Business-oriented questions:

  • How did you get started in this industry?
  • Why do you love to do what you do?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • What’s your favorite type of client to work with?
  • What’s your favorite problem to solve?
  • What’s the first thing you do when you sign a new contract?
  • What’s your favorite way to celebrate success?
  • What is something a client has said to you that really made you happy?

Digging deeper and some atypical questions:

  • When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your favorite toy as a child?
  • (As a follow-up) Does it connect in any way to what you do today?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition that you celebrate with friends, family or your employees?
  • What’s something you’re most looking forward to doing with your business (or with your family) in the next year?
  • What do you feel has been the secret to your success?

Use these questions to help generate conversations and see what type of relationships can develop!

6
Apr

Seven Top Tips for Your Next Trade Show or Exhibition

We know that many of the products we sell will be used as promotional giveaways at trade shows, conferences and exhibitions. Through this we have learnt a few things that will help you market your brand at these events.

We’ve got a mixture of advice and potential promotional products.

Here are seven top tips:

1. If the customer is going to say no to you, make sure “no” the answer you want to hear. Instead of asking if they would like some free promotional products, ask them “have you seen our free merchandise”. It’s far more difficult to say no to somebody when a simple “no thanks” will get the job done.

2. Make one of your handouts pre-charged power banks. These make a fantastic promotional product in their own right, but the added practicality of being pre-charged, your printed product has gone from being a useful item to have in the future to being a lifesaver there and then.

It may take a bit of time charging the power banks before the event but it will be worth it. Your company’s message and logo will be on the product which saved the day.

3. On the topic of taking time before the event, social media is a great tool to use to promote your brand. Making sure your customers and clients know you’re at an event is important, but equally important is the need to use social media during the event.

It’s often said that content is king and this is the case here. Use Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook during the event. Take pictures, engage with other companies who are at the event too. Create content will you are promoting your brand. At these events your digital communications can be as important as chatting face to face.

4. Pre-loaded USB sticks, memory sticks or flash drives can be a great way to promote your brand at trade shows. Memory sticks are practical products which are used frequently in all areas of industry. Such as the pre-loaded power banks, the USB flash drives make an excellent promotional product in their own right, however, why not load your companies contact details on or host a PDF version of your catalogue on there?

Your customers and clients can then browse a digital version of your catalogue at their own pace. They are also free to delete it and use the memory stick for its intended purpose. Your printed branding will still be loud and clear to see.

5. Get something in return for your promotional merchandise. Whether you’re giving away mugs, pens or pre-loaded flash drives and pre-charged power banks, try and make sure you get something in return for your products.

It doesn’t have to be a like for like swap. Ask for an email address, a follow or a like on social media or even a business card. These events are just as much about branching out and creating small leads for the future than selling your product on the spot.

6. Promotional bags can be a memorable product at any trade show. Branded bags, whether drawstring, jute or backpacks can be a great way to market your brand. However, these products do come with a slight issue. Promotional bags are consistently a top selling promotional merchandise item in the UK so it’s likely other stalls and tables are going to be giving bags away.

The plus side is that these products are practical, long lasting and have an excellent print area for your brand to take advantage of.

7. The final point echoes a comment from legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi. “When you get in the endzone, act like you’ve been there before.” Lombardi may have been talking about not over celebrating after scoring a touchdown but at trade shows the sentiment is the same.

If a potential customer seems interested in your product and what you have to say, whether or not you have, act like you’ve been there before. Sell your product in a friendly and confident way.

Trade shows and exhibitions can be a great way to promote your brand if you approach it with an open minded and positive way.

6
Apr

The Difference Between a Flyer and a Brochure

What is a Circular?

The leaflet is an unfolded paper which is used to bring the attention of people towards a particular idea, product, service or event. A poster puts across a message easily across to people. An announcement is printed in small sheets, but can be increased in size according to the requirement. Fly poster printing services print dodgers more often than not on one side, but it can also be on both sides.

They are distributed by people, especially employed for that purpose, to a passer-by in a trade show or a shopping complex, or somewhere similar. Bulletins can be also folded and kept in envelopes. For printing bills, any kind of printing ink can be used, but colorful blurbs are much in demand.

A notice usually is used for a very short time, so the paper used for the roster may not be very thick. Sometimes handouts are used for one-off events, but sometimes it is referred to again and again and for that the paper needs to be durable, especially for usage in a product spec sheet.

What is a Brochure?

A folder is pretty similar to a mailer but it always has printing on both sides. A throwaway has usually of one page; a copy contains multiple pages, with much more information. It can contain many pages, which are bound together.

The chief difference between Brochures and Flyers

Though compendiums and affiches are similar in nature, they have some basic differences which need to be taken into account, such as:

    • A listing is usually used for a temporary purpose like for a particular event, concert or club openings. Periodicals are used more than once.
    • A playbill is not very expensive, but tracts are expensive.
    • A catalogue gives the important information at a single glance. A broadside, on the other hand, provide more information. A person interested to know more about the company or event will pick up a literature for sure.
    • A commercial is simpler to print, as it contains little information, just the little bit of information which grabs the attention of the onlookers. But a journal is much more complicated to print because it has several panels, photos, and headlines. Sometimes even copywriters are used to create content for brochures, so it is a much more expensive proposition.
    • An ad is usually of a standard size, which is 8.5″ x 11″, made by printing services but a book can be of various sizes.
    • A proclamation is usually made of inexpensive paper, but a dissertation is made of heavy-weight paper, as it can be used a number of times.
    • Communication papers are distributed freely, but a written work is only distributed when an initial interest is shown for the particular product or service.
  • Declaration papers are often displayed in areas where there is a crowd of people gathered for a common interest, whereas in the case of custom brochures people seek them to get more information.

1. They are used for events with the help of online promotion printing.

2. They are also used for presentation handouts.

3. They are used for Business purposes.

4. They can be also used for real estate.

5. They can be used for spec sheets.

Treatises can be used for:

1. They can be used for corporate purposes.

2. They can also be used for making catalogues.

3. They can be used for School leaflets.

4. They are useful for travel purposes.

5. They can be used for manuals.

6. They are used for policy pamphlets.

Print remains an important tool for marketing purposes. Promulgations and papers are often not given enough importance but they’re a wonderful way to make your brand stand apart from the rest. You can communicate your information with the help of classified ads and publications to create the effect you want to. Playbills are distributed in huge numbers so that they reach a wider audience, whereas discourses reach a much smaller and selective audience.

They are different, but are considered important marketing tools without which a company will not be able to reach to the audience. Just by looking at a syllabus or a research you can glean important information which will help you to pick and choose between companies. A program or a thesis is a link between the company and the consumer. A tractate, with its color and printed material can capture attention, whereas the glossy printing helps hold the attention on the product with its detailed information.

6
Apr

Why Brands Need to Invest in Event Marketing

It has become very difficult to really connect with the consumers nowadays on digital channels as social media has jam packed the connectivity mediums, making the messenger nearly useless. The message imparted by the brand should make an impact as compared to the other messages by different brands as there are millions of users who keep a check on the same. On the other hand, brands are also competing hard with the audiences, social circles, family and friends and continuously share text, emails, newsfeed etc.

This overloading of information has made the consumers become too choosy and particular regarding the content they get engaged with and this raises the bar for brands when they compete hard in getting digital attention from the users. It is really important to stand out and make a different impact with today’s digital consumers and the solution lies in event marketing.

Why should you choose event marketing?

The biggest drawback of digitalization is that its impact is not long lasting and it has a low recollection value when it comes to making an image in the minds of the consumers. You can remember the image of any product, its specifications and features but you fail to remember the brand name of the product. You usually forget about the online ads that you visit. The brand recall is much more in traditional markets, particularly when there is a substantial brand experience.

So as to make a difference in the market and earn a desired place in the minds of customers, brands and agencies desperately need viral connect and they need to have a long lasting experience and impactful activities. This strategy is all about enabling the personal connect between brands and customers by various methods. They create real life experiences that are worthy of sharing. Such experiences merge digital and real experiences so as to craft strong memories and make an impactful connection between brands and its consumers. Event marketing makes such an experience for the consumers that are worth sharing and you can later share it in the newsfeed and among all your networks.

Another way is experimental marketing.

The idea of experiential marketing is not a very fresh concept. There have been many high impact activation brands that have created a perfect connection of experience with the development in technology and improvement in digitalization. Experiential marketing takes better care of ads and circulates them evenly on social media platforms for getting better publicity and enough advertisement. We have channels like Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn that offers rational ways to contact with the kind of audience that you they are going to target.

If you keep in mind the advantages of each of these strategies and create a campaign playing on the strengths of these strategies, it is equivalent to a job that is done perfectly. Even if you are not sure about how to start such marketing policies, you need to start things and you need to have perfect guidance from the experts. This way you can get in contact with your targeted consumers and your marketing strategies will work out perfectly.

6
Apr

Trust Marketing for Small Businesses

If you are a person who is looking to have some great tips for your small budget business then you are in for some great luck as you can find some of the most trusted as well as proven small budget tips for marketing your business here. These ideas can surely make up the difference for you that you might have not even imagined before. They are given as follows:

  • Pay Attention to Content

This is something which is almost very obvious now. It is because if you pay attention to have some really awesome content then you will surely attract a lot of prospects that will eventually give you true sales. Thus, make sure that you have quality based content which is actually helpful to know about you or your product / service being offered.

  • Make Videos

Many people might not pay enough attention to it but the fact is that people are more attracted to buy a service or product when it has some great instructional videos for use or those that show the product or service clearly. Thus, make sure you spend some amount clearly on this aspect to make people have faith in you and build a trusted relationship.

  • Get Those Promos

Getting real advertisement promos can be quite out of budget but there is still good news because there are many places on social media where these ads and their posting are free through some promotions and deals. So make sure you don’t miss out any chance on these as they are available quite often to get you the best marketing.

  • Remember Reddit

Redddit is a very smart way to go with marketing because Reddit can help all people to brush up any marketing skills that have been applied. Reddit makes use of these skills to utilize them in the best possible way so make sure you don’t forget this place for marketing at all.

  • Get into Networking

This is the best way to stay updated and keep people updated about your business too. Thus, make sure that you are truly active and available on almost all social media platforms for people to know about your business and get their queries answered as well too.The above specified marketing tips for small businesses will surely prove to you their credibility in the least amount of time, so get started to get benefiting from them right now!

6
Apr

Insured Couriers – Security Is the Sensibility

Are you shocked? What other than the mentioned points can make you relax? Well, it’s the protection which can take away all the stress you are bearing in your mind. A security is required in every step of your life and the security can add an extra value towards anything of the above points.

If you give it a clear thought, you would be able to realize yourself that be it, a holiday tour, a happy family or a business, security plays the primary and the vital role in the play. If you take a torch and try to find a single thing which is preferable without the protection, you will end up gaining nothing. Above all, if you are considering the parcel service, this is the most significant point that you should look for. When the safety of your goods is online, you ought to opt for a secure option.

The insured couriers are one of the safest options that would be your best friend when the parcel is concerned. When you are too busy in your work to deliver the important thing to another destination, only then you give it a thought to hire a courier company for you. A little mistake can ruin your happiness and turn your dreams into a nightmare. Your belongings obviously carry lots of emotions and importance, and seeing those goods damaged or lost wouldn’t be a good alternative.

You need to research well before availing any service from the couriers. Below are some points which can help you finding a reliable one.

1. Insurance Papers:

This particular thing can provide you enough relaxation while obtaining the courier services. Often it comes to know that individuals have faced difficulties regarding the damage of their goods or the loss of those. If you get the paperwork in your hand, you can charge them back for any fault or get the money for any damage of the goods.

2. Customer Reviews:

Look for the customer reviews as it would be able to help you in understanding their expertise and quality. Go to their websites and see the testimonial section. You can also ask them for the personal contact number of their previous clients so that you can be certain about their service in a more humanlike way.

3. Affordability:

This point is a great concern for individuals. While, most of the people have the anxiety that the insured couriers may charge a skyrocketing price, they take a step back. For some of the companies, it is true but if keep your eyes properly, you can end up obtaining the reasonable rate along with the paperwork.

Secured Delivery Service is one of the best sources of insured couriers. It focuses on delivering the goods on the right time with excellent condition.

6
Apr

A “Stuck on the Expressway” Marketing Lesson

While driving on the crowded Chicago expressway system the traffic slowed, then crawled, and finally stopped. I was stranded, moving ten feet and stop, another ten feet and stop, again and again. I found myself stuck behind a brightly painted U-Haul truck. There was nothing else to occupy my eyes while slowly crawling towards my destination so I started reading the signs on the truck and got a good lesson in Marketing 101 – “Features & Benefits” and “De-Commoditization of a Commodity.” In those few, stuck-in-traffic-agonizing-minutes, I felt as if I had taken a mini-course at “U-Haul University.”

U – Haul uses their products as rolling billboards. Their trucks and trailers are covered with marketing messages – features and benefits to differentiate their products from their competition. A big arrow on the lift-gate points out the “Extra Low Load Height – easy on your back” and “Ten Foot Loading Ramp – easy to enter.”

I noticed that the signs touted both the feature – “Extra Low Load Height” AND the benefit – “easy on your back.” Great copy writing! Even if the competition has the same load height, they are not shouting it out on thousands and thousands of trucks throughout the country.

Later, as traffic cleared I was able to pull ahead and noticed many other feature / benefit messages on the side and door of the truck. The message was clear, that they went the extra mile to design vehicles that are easier to load and move a household… good reasons to rent from them. In addition, they are using their product as the medium to transmit the message – inexpensive (when you calculate the “cost per impression” by the hundreds of thousands of daily impressions when compared to the cost of media buys to gain the similar number of impressions) and very effective.

Look, in the truck rental business, the competing company’s products are all, at least to someone who rarely needs to rent a truck, similar if not the same. I’m guessing that there is little difference in pricing. Aside from a convenience and location factor, there isn’t much reason to choose one company over another… unless a company has made an impression that their product and service is somewhat better and, if something promises it will be easier on my back, I’m impressed. And I started thinking that a “features & benefits” and “de-commoditization of a commodity” exercise can benefit any company.

Even though being stuck in traffic is frustrating, it can be a thought-provoking learning (and back-saving) moment.

6
Apr

Sound Results In Business

Podcasts are pure sound; a total listening experience. It’s a medium that can be theater of the mind using voice, rhythm, sound design, ideas. Podcasts are a sonic tapestry: conversations, interviews, music, messages. Podcasts are very different from text, info graphics, photos, surveys, blogs, white papers, articles, videos, CDs, vinyl records and commercial radio.

After twenty years as a composer producer for radio, TV and Film, and then as a ten year veteran podcast producer and host, I ask: what is it really that makes podcasting different from other types of online media platforms? How is podcasting unique in its capacity to build brands and drive business growth? What factors make a podcast successful?

Let’s first explore what a podcast is and what promise it holds when it comes to measurably building your brand and your business.

What is a Podcast?

The word “podcast” is a hybrid word formed by combining “iPod” and “broadcast”. I like to think that podcasts are the natural technological evolution of traditional ‘old school’ radio broadcasting. There are some similarities between terrestrial radio and internet podcasting but many differences.

At the most basic level, a podcast is an audio file that is created by anyone and then distributed on the Internet.

The most salient feature of podcasting is its ability to deliver media messages over the internet without broadcast schedule or distribution constraints. The listener chooses when and where to tune in. And the podcaster can potentially scale their distribution and audience size as far as the Internet will allow.

More than a mere audio file, a podcast series creates focused, habitual listening experience that we design for our audience. There are a range of creative forms a podcast series can take. Underlying the ability to attract audience is the production quality and the value delivered with the message.

To podcast or not to podcast.

While there’s a robust and fast growing online culture of podcast producers and consumers (aka prosumers), the reason podcasters podcast varies widely. Some podcasters produce podcasts as an end in-and-of -itself. They may or may not directly monetize their show, but it is the end product. In this instance, the purpose of the podcast is to spread knowledge, entertainment, news, information, experience, stories, or just have fun with original content.

At the same time, many professionals create podcasts to help grow their businesses and build their visibility to attract new followers. They podcast to expand brand awareness, establish market position, build both ‘social authority’ and professional credibility. Our company helps business professionals who wish to podcast consultation on the form of a podcast; or how best we might shape it in order to achieve stated business objectives. Together we design the show format and platform, and develop a distribution strategy that is transparent and where the effects are clearly measurable. The objective: To co-create an original podcast as a key element of a company’s total digital marketing plan.

What are some of the unique benefits of Podcasting as differentiated from other digital marketing platforms?

Positioning. Podcasting is powerful because you get to create a sustained, unique listening experience for your audience. That experience is an entire universe that you create; a venue, a platform, a narrative, all designed to condition your audience about how to think of your brand, and how to communicate it effectively to others. An important effect of podcasting is the formation of a sustained, durable relationship with your listeners through repeating, habitual, subscribed listening.

Comfort, Familiarity and Trust. People do business with people who they know, like and trust. In the digital world, we are persistently connected but often not speaking to each other nearly enough to establish heartfelt, human, emotional connections. Ah – enter, the human voice!

Unlike a blog, article or white paper, with the sound of your voice you have a unique opportunity to develop a close, trusting relationship with your audience.

The sound, the color, the rhythm, the nuance, the tone and value of your voice is uniquely yours. It projects the WHO behind your business. As the face of your brand and the host of your podcast, there’s simply nothing like the sound of your voice to convey the authentic you. As a product and service provider, and as a brand, you want your customers and clients to know you. Through the repeated listening of your show over time, your audience will build more and more comfort, familiarity and trust as get to know you better and better. And this leads to deeper connection and sustained relationships with your clients and customers, which can drive business growth.

Credibility and Authority. There is something magical that happens for those that host a podcast or radio show. With you behind the microphone, somehow, automatically, your credibility is assumed. It’s a celebrity factor, perhaps created from our collective experience from generations listening and watching traditional radio and TV broadcast hosts. Today, along with the world of democratized publishing comes the ability to celebritize any podcaster or radio show host.

Scale. I’ve worked with many professional consultants over the years who have been looking to find a way to effectively transform their current one-to-one “practice” into a scalable business, aka “one-to-many”. As a communications platform, Podcasting is naturally a one-to-many solution. It scales the messaging in a way that much less expensive than traditional advertising, much more robust in content, and is directly measurable. For those looking to scale their professional services, podcasting is a powerful way to boost lead generation and conversion by creating specified landing pages and text links in the show notes of each episode. Scaling the messaging can scale the business.

Invitation. One of the fascinating side effects of hosting your own interview show is that you get to invite clients, prospects, experts, authors, speakers, thought leaders, fascinating people, celebs… whoever – to be on YOUR show. Not only does the act of extending this invitation connect you to new and amazing influencers, but it gives you “air time” with them on your show to co-create engaging conversations. It’s a very powerful connectivity tool. And, every guest you bring on your show will surely promote the segment to their own universe online, generating more scale and viral promotion!

Intimacy. Like radio, podcasting is essentially an intimate listening experience. Unlike public speaking where you have a proverbial roomful of people, podcasting connects you and your microphone to one listener at a time. While many frame “broadcasting” as mass communication, in fact, it’s a very intimate and direct form of communication.

Think of your microphone is each and every person’s ear.

You are right there with them, communicating directly to them with every show you do. And let’s not forget that the hosting itself is a fantastic platform to improve your own speaking chops. It helps you learn how to improvise, get the flow, how to ask great questions and co-create a compelling conversation. And the more you do it, the better you get at communicating your brand, and helping your listeners understand you, who you are, how you work and what you really care about.

Distribution. The podcast distribution ecosystem is beautifully engineered to distribute your content on the internet. With RSS feeds, each new show gets distributed right after it’s published, to multiple destinations automatically, including iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Stitcher, Google Play, YouTube and many others. And, because podcast content is easily accessible via mobile devices, it fits squarely into the “hyper-local” idea… this is the way most listeners consume. Where they want and when they want.

Control. When you appear on a radio show, TV show or podcast as a guest, it’s great exposure for you and your brand. But when you are the host of your OWN show, you are in control of your content and messaging. When I work with podcasters, we co-create a show format that suits your brand, your personality, your content. With you as the host in the proverbial driver seat, you control the show, the message, the interview, the pace and the entire listener experience. In effect, you, the podcaster, become your own media “company”. At the heart of podcasting is this ability to control the content, the message, the distribution and the listener experience. And these production and distribution efficiencies translate to marketing dollars saved.

Connection. Above all, podcasting is a way for you to connect to your market. The idea of connecting regularly while making your podcast a habit for your audience is key to success in your content marketing (aka connection) strategy. While content quality is certainly a factor, the true measure is the success of your podcast is the quality of connection you achieve with your audience. In fact, sometimes “too much” production can cause listeners feel like your show isn’t authentic, isn’t connecting in a real, human way. The quality and quantity of connection, it turns out, is more important than the production value. In practice this means, produce shows often, deliver them regularly, and with a predictable level of quality. Make your podcast a habit for your listeners.

Conversion. In business, it’s critical to quantify the investments you make in content marketing. As a core content strategy, podcasts can be engineered to drive lead generation and ultimately… customer conversion. URLs for landing pages can be mentioned on the audio podcast. They can also be included in the show notes for each episode. Or, you can create a promo code to identify that visitors came from the podcast listening experience. If you deliver the podcast from your website, you can create gateways for listeners and acquire more names and emails for remarketing.

Summary. Think of podcasting as the “voice” of your business. It helps your market and audience get to know you over time, building trust loyalty, and familiarity.

Podcasting is a natural extension of your business development plan and your digital marketing strategy. You create and share content which demonstrates your expertise. Podcasting helps your business articulate a clearly defined position in its market space. This becomes one of many vital tools, your own media platform for you to promote your and grow your business.

6
Apr

How To Market Your Martial Arts School

Running a martial arts school should be a lot of fun, and it is in many ways. But making it work financially is another matter altogether. I struggled for years with my schools but it was what I didn’t know that was holding me back. It was what I was carrying around in my head which didn’t help me too. What I believed about the art I was teaching, myself and the value of my school to students was all wrong.

Mindset and Business

Whether you think you are teaching out of the love of what you are doing or to build a business, is a large factor in your schools success. I thought that just by turning up again and again and doing what I had always done for 20 or so years of training, would be enough. It wasn’t.

Only after several years of struggle did I really look into what I was doing, how it was making me feel and why it wasn’t working.

I decided that it was make or break time. I had a few classes and a few students, but I wasn’t satisfied with it. It wasn’t making me happy. I would get a new student at the club and they would leave. My regulars were leaving too. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong but I decided to take some responsibility for the school. I was in charge after all but I was letting habit rule me.

How could I expect change if I didn’t change anything? If my school hadn’t changed within a year I was going to scrap the whole idea. I had to make it work or that would be 20 years of training down the drain – or at least that’s how I saw it at the time.

Doubt and Uncertainty

I doubted myself and my ability. I doubted whether I was doing the right thing. Maybe I should do something else? But I couldn’t abandon the few remaining students who kept turning up. Martial arts had been a focus for my life. I don’t know what I would have done without them. So I needed to keep going. But I also needed to make it pay. I was turning away work so I could make classes. It was crazy. I was doing myself out of money for the sake of my failing classes – which were costing me money!

I knew my indecision wasn’t helping matters. I focused on getting my classes together in the same building. That would build some cohesion at least. I had done some affiliate training online so I was using some of the ideas I had learned to promote my class with advertising on the internet. But I was still struggling with numbers. I then put myself on another marketing course and started applying what I learned online.

One of the biggest factors was mindset again, not in the same way though. I knew I was being too ‘wishy washy’ with my advertising and in my confidence too. I knew I could be great at what I was doing, I just didn’t fully believe in myself. But not only that, there was another hidden mindset problem which I was about to discover.

Marketing With Confidence

I was doing some marketing. But I was dipping my toe in. I would pay a tiny amount and see if it worked. If it didn’t I would stop my advert. I kept doing this for ages. I didn’t have any confidence in what I was doing. I didn’t have the money to back it up either.

After a rather expensive marketing course I saw the main mistakes I was making. I didn’t have the cash for the course so it went on credit card. It was scary and I don’t recommend spending money you don’t have. But for me it was make or break time. I was so frustrated with my results. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.

The course lit up a few lights and I saw some of my limitations. It taught not only the advertising specifics but also back-end products and the long-term value of the customer. Knowing these things gives you confidence in your advertising. You still need a range of products and a good business model for it to work.

Within a few months I was pushing my comfort zones and advertising many more beginners courses than I had even done in the past. Part of the problem was I had become too comfortable. I only did what was necessary to perpetuate the situation.

When I changed things and turned up the advertising in a kind of ‘do or die’ manner, things began to change. Again, I was spending money on credit but with a bit more confidence this time. I had been learning advertising online for some time, but I didn’t understand the concept of lifetime value of a customer, or return on investment. Knowing these things gave me confidence in what I was doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just throw money at advertising. I was doing it in a very controlled way, targeting my specific location through Facebook advertising. I had learned how to lower costs and offer more back-end products. My main problem was a lack of students. This was partly my confidence problem and uncertainty with the school. It all starts from your mentality. By changing my mentality, valuing what I was doing and my approach to advertising, everything eventually changed.